A cargo ship with the Sierra Leone flag was found near Imia last Thursday. The Coast Guard was alerted by the ship’s peculiar course and proceeded to escort it to the port of Rhodes, where today, around noon, the check of the ship’s Nour M containers began. According to the ship’s documents it is carrying weapons and ammunition. Sources indicated that the first three containers were filled with small and larger caliber bullets (for Kalashnikov weapons).
According to the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, out of the ship’s 59 containers, 56 are filled with 20,000 Kalashnikovs and ammunition such as bullets, etc. However, the exact content will be determined after opening the containers in the presence of prosecutors and customs agents.
The consignor seems to be a Ukrainian company based in Kiev that was part of UN research in 2011, which mentioned that “the company is intervening in order to break the embargo on arms supply against the Gaddafi regime.”
On Saturday the Coast Guard announced that by order of the Authority for Combating Money Laundering the check of the load would start on Monday, in the presence of the Customs department, while the ship is guarded by Special Forces of the Port Authority of Rhodes.
The Minister of Mercantile Marine, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, is constantly being informed on the progress of the case. He arrived in Rhodes by helicopter along with the head of the Coast Guard, Dimitris Bantias, and is currently providing information to the Ministries of Public Order and National Defense.
The eight-member crew consisting of foreign people is currently being held in the Port of Rhodes.